Ten Ways for Your Teen to Volunteer This Summer

By Harlisha Homer June 3, 2024

What are your teenagers doing this summer? Outside of working or camps, many cities offer summer service programs specifically for teens. Check your local community for teen volunteer or ambassador programs and opportunities that are a fit for your teen's interests.

1. Animals. Many zoos, sea centers, and animal shelters offer programs for teens. Some even have career programs that have application deadlines in early spring, while others simply require a general volunteer application for ongoing work. Your teen could also set up a drive for your local animal shelter, as many need items such as towels or pet supplies.

2. Art and/or the arts. Check with local art museums, community arts programs, and local theaters to see if there are opportunities to serve. Some have ambassador programs, teen advisory boards, or docent programs, and some community theaters offer opportunities for teens to work backstage, serve as ushers, or work as interns.

3. Outdoor interests. National, state, and local parks, local nature centers, botanical gardens and/or beaches often have programs for teens.

4. Science, medicine, and health. Did you know that local hospitals offer programs for teens who are interested in the health field? Did you know that some non-profits that serve ill children also have volunteer opportunities? Also, check with your local science museum.

5. Law enforcement and public policy. Certain cities, no matter the size, offer junior citizenship academies or teen courts, as well as opportunities to serve local public officials.

6. Literacy. Your public library provides a great opportunity for your teen to serve the community, and libraries often allow younger volunteers.

7. Food banks and shelters. Many local food banks and shelters need to be replenished. Your teen can organize a food, clothing, or supply drive for these agencies, or they can opt to help serve at the agency.

8. Senior citizens. Residents at senior facilities often like interacting with young people. Check with your local facility to see how your teen can assist. Some cities also have meal delivery programs for seniors that may need teen assistance.

9. Youth. Summer is a great time to help at a local non-profit child care facility or camp, at a summer school, or with a youth sports team. It's also a great time to organize a school supply drive for students who need them.

10. Historical interests. Historical societies and history museums often have opportunities for teens who like history and want to learn more about preservation.